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Date: Fri, 29 Nov 2002 20:11:48 -0800
From: "Adam Stephanides"
Subject: Re: (urth) Quetzal and Noah's Ark

On Wed, 27 Nov 2002 10:53:25 -0600 James Jordan  wrote:

>          The Increate's love for humanity is
> "tough love." Hard times and 
> death are part of how He loves humanity and
> brings humanity to maturity. 
> That's not modern "love" but it is basic to a
> Christian understanding of 
> "love." Whether you agree or not, that's going
> to be Wolfe's perspective.

Rather than argue religion, I'll stick to the books and ask why, if the
Outsider's "love" for humanity is compatible with letting most of the people
on Urth die, He doesn't also let the people on the Whorl die.  What's so
special about them?

>          Consider that Horn's "Book of Silk,"
> which has the contour of the 
> gospel narrative + the book of Acts + at the
> end the book of Revelation, 
> does indeed show the deeper meaning of what
> "saving the manteion" entails. 
> And, saving this particular people of Viron
> (=Israel) becomes a "gospel" to 
> all the settlers on Blue (and Green
> eventually). "Saving the manteion" 
> expands to saving the people physically from
> the dying Whorl before it 
> descends into hellish darkness and then expands
> to spiritual salvation 
> through the "Book of Silk" as its readers learn
> who the real God is.

I don't see that anybody has been spiritually saved by the end of the Short
Sun books, except perhaps Silk.  Silk himself has only "graduated" to
monotheism, which alone is not sufficient for salvation according to Catholic
teaching, afaik.  And Horn, who wrote the "Book of Silk," hasn't even gotten
that far by the start of "Blue": he still thinks that the "gods" of Mainframe
are gods of the same order as the Outsider, though he thinks the Outsider has
been underemphasized.  And while some of the colonists have begun to worship
Silk, there are no indications of an increase in Outsider-worship as a result
of reading the Book of Silk, iirc.  Of course, this might all be part of a
long-term plan on the Outsider's part to bring the colonists' descendants to
salvation, but there's no evidence for this in the books.

>          Maybe not. But it seems to me that the
> whole notion of "plan" is 
> basic to the books. A plan by a pseudo-god
> (Pas) implies a greater plan by 
> the True God. Our gradual discovery of what the
> Plan of Pas is implies that 
> we are also to think about this Greater Plan
> also. From page 1 in LS, the 
> Outsider is a "player" in the narrative, doing
> something specific in the 
> narrative (though behind the scenes, as the
> Ruler says in "Westwind"). We 
> are invited to consider that specific plan.
>          That's my reasoning, sound or not!

Fair enough, but on the evidence of the books themselves it's very hard to see
what the Outsider's plan is.  Of course, Wolfe's point may be precisely that
the Outsider's plans are incomprehensible to humans.

After writing the above, it occurred to me that it might be argued that the
Outsider's plan is to save the inhumi through the colonists.  I would
disagree, though.  In my reading of the books, the inhumi have no souls of
their own; the intelligent inhumi, as beasts with human souls, are (in Wolfe's
eyes) monstrous parodies of humanity, and for them to devolve back to beastdom
would be best for them as well as for the colonists.  Of course, not everyone
will agree with this reading, but in any case I see no indication by the end
of RttW that the inhumi are on the road to salvation (even a long and winding



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